" The men who create power make an indispensable contribution to the Nation's greatness, but the men who question power make a contribution just as indispensable, especially when that questioning is disinterested, for they determine whether we use power or power uses us. "
John F. Kennedy

Back in the day


Hither Green Rail Crash

The Sunday evening express train from Hastings to London was traveling 70 miles per hour (113 km/h) when it struck a stressed and fractured rail not far from London's Hither Green depot. The packed train derailed and partially overturned, killing 49 people in one of the worst rail disasters in British history. Several other trains may have successfully passed over the broken rail earlier. What safety feature, present on the particular train that derailed, may have triggered the accident?



Circular Breathing

Circular breathing is a technique for sustaining a tone on a wind instrument without interruption. When a musician's lungs are nearly out of air, he or she uses the cheeks to force air out of the mouth while quickly breathing in through the nose, and then resumes exhaling from the lungs. For some instruments, such as the Australian didgeridoo or the Cambodian sralai, circular breathing is an integral part of the playing technique. How long is the world record for holding a single note?

Born on a day like today


Mahmud Ghazan

One of the most prominent Mongol leaders of Persia, Ghazan was raised Buddhist but converted to Islam in 1295 before inheriting his father's throne. Well educated and fluent in several languages, he tasked his vizier with composing a history of the Mongols. In Syria, he successfully fought his family's enemy, the Mamluks, but they reoccupied the area upon his departure. What European nation became so fascinated with Mongol culture in the 13th century that many children were named for Ghazan?

Last updated on Monday, 5th November 2012

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